Last week we moved back home after five months of construction
and living in a rental. We had so much to unpack, but I was also
anxious to get my Christmas stuff up.
I was unloading boxes and unwrapping ornaments while
simultaneously trying to read three days worth of unread email; not
to mention that my girls seemed to need something every five
minutes - food, attention, help, food…
I was carrying my phone around in my pocket because I was hoping
to make a quick call to my parents, but first I needed to unwrap
one more ornament, put this pan away, finish my grocery list and
take this bag to the garbage…
In the midst of all of this, I started to laugh because I
realized I was literally creating chaos.
No, I was already in chaos.
But chaos was not given to me, chaos did not happen - I had
created it. I was choosing to be in chaos. I was choosing to do all
these things simultaneously; I was choosing to feel this way.
So I walked around in circles for awhile, mulled over my choices
and then decided to ditch it all.
It was Sunday and Todd was home, so I decided to head to yoga
Crazy, right? But what I needed most in this chaos was to get
rid of this chaos.
After 75 minutes of doing something I love, I returned home to
my lists, the computer, the boxes, and the holiday decorations. But
it looked different, and even more important, it felt
I was ready to get going again, but this time I was excited to
have the girls help me (instead of shooing them away so I could do
it MY way….that's my chaos response).
I hibernated my computer, cautiously stepped around boxes, and
focused on decorating my little tree.
I connected to what I was doing.
This is always an option. I can choose what to do, how to feel,
and how to respond regardless of what is happening around me.
Dropping everything and going to a yoga class isn't always an
option, but I could sit down and relax, take a breath, get a
coffee, put on a good song, and then begin again.
I could stop the self-created chaos by choosing to not
I talk with parents daily, personally and professionally, so I
know many of you are reading this and rolling your eyes….there is
no way you could stop, you don't have choices, you have to get
everything done, you have to do it all, and you have to go to the
But do you? I know it feels like it, I feel that way sometimes,
But the truth is you don't.
I remember when I was single, in grad school, and working. I was
crazy busy. Then Todd and I planned a wedding and got married and I
was crazy busy. Then we had a baby and oh my goodness, was I crazy
busy. Then I had another baby, and I started a business, and then I
had another baby….
You see where I am going. I was busy in all of those situations,
and I am still busy to this day. But when does it end and when do I
finally enjoy my everyday life?
I think now is a good time.
Of course there are things you have to do - carpool, take
care of a sick child, meet a deadline - but instead of dreading it
or thinking about how you shouldn't have to do it, can you be
present for it?
Instead of trying to "get through it," can you be there and
really be there? Commit yourself to it and put your heart
into it instead of thinking about what else you "could" or "should"
Just be there, because life is happening in that moment.
Everybody is rushing around trying to get somewhere, get things
done, and check things off the list - but why? Where are they
Are they just pushing through everyday so they can get back in
bed at night and then start over the next day? What's that all
There is no place and time when everything is done or neat or
tidy. Everyday there will be something to do and there will be a
new list, so it's time to make a choice about now.
Can you let go of some things you don't want to do and know that
it is OK?
Can you say "no" and disappoint someone but know that you are
still a good person?
Can you go to bed without completing every task and know that
it's possible to feel fulfilled and sleep peacefully?
Maybe then you will feel calmer and be calmer. Maybe then you
will be friendlier and less chaotic with your partner and your
children. They deserve that, don't they?
And don't you deserve to enjoy your life? I think you do.
It's important to realize that life is not being "done" to you -
you are always free to choose, that is what "free will" means.
Maybe big things are happening around you; maybe you are afraid
or worried. That's even more of a reason to love yourself, to
soothe yourself, to choose things that make you feel good. You need
to choose these things so you can deal with the things you can't
You don't need to chuck all your responsibilities, or blow off
your loved ones, or move to the highest mountain and meditate. It
is absolutely unnecessary to take it to these extremes.
This is more of an inner experience. A decision to choose what
feels good right now - it could be a shift in decision making or a
shift in feeling - or maybe both.
Take care of yourself first and you will be amazed at how good
you will feel; and ironically, how much you can accomplish.
And if you really feel like you can't do this, maybe you enjoy
Really, I'm not kidding.
Some people love chaos, they love to have loads of things on
their list. They love to feel overwhelmed, overworked, or maybe
And if this is true for you, then acknowledge it. It will help
you understand yourself better and it will keep you from blaming
others for your busy schedule.
Right now is the time of year when we feel most overwhelmed with
obligation - holiday expectations, life, work, and family - so this
is a prime time for thoughtful choices.
Not to blame or ask others to stop having parties or
expectations, but to choose differently about how your moments are
Because life is just a series of moments - one moment after the
next creating the story of your life.
What will your next moment be like? You choose.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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